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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

VOH  HtTMBOLBT.                  S55
-assent to the project by an order in council,
4th September,  I8075 which decreed that a universal
institution for instruction should be erected in Berlin,
in appropriate connexion with the academy of sciences.
The ostensible motive for the new institution was the
loss of the university of Halle, which had hitherto
been the most important establishment of the "kind
in the monarchy.    But the real reason, was a deeper
one.     It was felt that the state, the nation, and the
government, needed an intellectual impulsion, such as
only a great institution of this kind, in the immediate
vicinity of the highest authorities, could give.    It was
felt that this7 which common minds would consider
an unwarrantable luxury in such a ^time of distress^
might prove the means of saving the state, and the
tDvernment, therefore,  did not shrink from the saeri-
ces which the execution of the plan demanded.
The matter had advanced so far when Humboldt
was called to the   post,   and on him devolved the
onerous duty of carrying out the plan. For scarcely had
the first step been taken when the mode in which
the plan should be executed was warmly discussed,
and the place chosen for its erection met with great
opposition.    The prime minister^ JYeiherr von Stein,
was even on the side of the opponents*    To his idea
the calmness of academic life was quite inconsonant
with the bustle and diversions of a great capital, and
with his usual impetuosity he declared the plan to
be absurd.    He feared especially the  demoralization
of the young students.   IP. A. Wolf, however, succeeded
in representing to him that his fears were exagger-
ated, and in persuading the minister of the feasibi-
lity of the plan, who thereupon "became  as violent
a, partizan as he had been an opponent.    Again
insufficient funds were .advanced as an obstacle^
this objection was met^ and justly, with the reply,
that with small funds more could be achieved in
capital than anywhere else., as so many iBtdispeasable
institutions and collections were already ia existence
there.    A third objection was of           importance
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